• A recent survey conducted by Vast Bank found that over 50% of respondents who were interested in cryptocurrencies said they would be more likely to choose a bank over other crypto platforms for investing
  • The app will allow customers to buy a range of cryptocurrencies including: bitcoin, bitcoin cash, cardano, ether, litecoin, orchid and algorand

Vast Bank, a family-owned and regional bank in Oklahoma is bringing cryptocurrencies to its customers through its new “Crypto Banking” service and this initiative might foreshadow the future of banks. 

The bank said it is the first nationally chartered US bank to allow customers to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency assets directly with their bank accounts. 

The Tulsa-based company has been around since 1982 and has grown its assets over 300% in the last nine years from about $200 million assets in 2012 to $800 million in assets to date, Vast Bank CEO Brad Scrivner said in an interview with Blockworks. 

The company began looking into crypto and having conversations as early as 2016 when customers preferences and the bank’s mindset began to change, Scrivner said. “Many banks and institutions are locked into legacy products, legacy mindsets and other legitimate reasons why they chose not to do things. But some of that includes that they don’t have the capabilities to do it. But we were well positioned to launch this from a mindset, technology and ownership perspective.”

After these conversations, the company launched its Vast Bank Crypto Banking application, which will provide customers the ability to buy a range of cryptocurrencies including: bitcoin, bitcoin cash, cardano (Ada), ethereum (ether), litecoin, orchid, and algorand. The app is powered by a partnership with the cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase and the software firm SAP. 

Although many crypto-enthusiasts vouch for cryptocurrency-based exchange platforms like Coinbase, Binance or FTX, a recent survey conducted by Vast Bank found that over 50% of respondents who were interested in cryptocurrencies said they would be more likely to choose a bank over other crypto platforms for investing. There is also a rise to “crypto-curious” investors who want to get involved and invest in digital assets, but aren’t knowledgeable about the industry, Scrivener said. 

Customers want a secure way to purchase cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, through their bank accounts, due to concerns over safety and security of other platforms, Scrivner said. The checking accounts are insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the crypto assets are protected through an insurance policy covered by Coinbase, according to Vast Bank’s website

“We wanted to give institutions and individuals the confidence that this (service) is something they can participate in without feeling like they’re in the Wild Wild West,” Scrivner said. “We also wanted to make sure we were always in an ability to be relevant and meet ever changing customers,” he added. 

Whale sighting 

Whales, which are individuals or institutions that hold large amounts of cryptocurrency, have contacted Vast Bank looking to get involved, Scrivner said. 

National banks have provided custody services for years and while there are differences with digital assets and other elements, there is a safe and sound, highly regulated opportunity for banks to get involved in crypto, he said. 

“Whales have been waiting for a national bank to get involved,” he said. “It’s like walking around with 9-figures in your pocket. Would you walk around with a billion dollars in your pocket? It’s baffling to me. These types of folks are excited for a national bank to be involved,” he added. 

In the future, the bank hopes to provide more security for crypto investors both retail-sized and whale-sized so that their investments are safe, Scrivner said. Additionally, over time the company will add other crypto assets and crypto-based products to its platform on a rolling basis, Scrivner said. 

“This is an emerging area,” he said.

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  • Jacquelyn Melinek is a Houston-based reporter covering digital asset funds and markets. She previously reported on energy markets for S&P Global Platts and Bloomberg News and is published in over 65 news outlets. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Media and Journalism.